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The act of saying no is simple it takes a second. It’s not saying no that bothers you it’s the consequences that concern you.

You can do this by using words and phrases such as:

Thank you for asking me

That sounds interesting

I’m honoured to be asked

That’s really kind

avoid using but as it carries negative connotations and instead use words like and however.

Leave a positive lasting impression – good luck

let me know how you get on ask me another time or I’d love to know how you get on.


I’m organising an amazing event and I’m looking for someone just like you to help with the organising. It will be great fun and it’s all for a good cause.


Wow well first of all thanks for asking. I’m honoured. However, I’m going to miss this one as I’m committed to several important things at the moment which all need my time and attention. It wouldn’t be fair on them, or you, if I said I could get involved with something else and then did a poor job with everything. Let me know how it goes though.

Saying no to your boss


I’d like you to take on Customer Service while Sally is on maternity leave


Wow thank you for thinking about me. It sounds like a great project and I’m up for a challenge. To take it on and do a brilliant job I need your help. Could you help me to find a couple of hours a day by reassigning some of my other responsibilities? I know James has done data input in the past so he would be great at that.

Time saving examples

Q Would you buy a newspaper when you drop Charlie off at the scouts?

A Yes of course. And I need your help with something. Would you empty the dishwasher while I’m out.

Q Could you take care of the phones while I’m away? Ill be back in an hour or so.

A No problem at all, and actually you could help me. Would you mind dropping this off at the Post Office while you’re out?

“I would like you to read this information I wrote about assertiveness.” This is an example of an assertive statement.

Here are some more examples:
• “Thanks for your suggestion.  I’ll take that into consideration”
• “No, I am not busy on Tuesday, but I want to keep it that way.”
• “Could you tell me more information so that I can understand what you are trying to say?”
• “I will have to get back with you about that.”
• “I think I understand what you are saying, but I am in disagreement.”
• “When is a good time for us to talk about something that has been bothering me?”

I feel you are being very aggressive toward me.

I get upset when you start shouting at me.

I statements make for great conversation openers because blame is avoided, and may allow the other person to save face or take responsibility before becoming emotional. If you are used to arguing with someone and suddenly try this, you may get quick improvements in communication. If the other person becomes aggressive or passive you can continue with “I” statements.

For example, “I will continue this discussion when we both agree not to name call.” Or for the passive person, “I realize that you are not ready to talk with me and I respect that and I know I can’t make you. I will be ready when you decide to talk.”

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